THE REMINGTON SAGA Friday, June 06, 2003
I have staunchly supported Remington Arms Company over the last thirty years in the form of retail purchases of no less than one hundred rifles and shotguns; untold cases of green-box “Core-Lokt” rifle ammunition, and TENS of thousands of rounds of your outstanding STS-hulled shotshell ammo, 209P primers, bags of Remington shot, and wads. I have sung the praises of this company long and hard. I think that makes me a reasonably good Remington customer and supporter—I have no idea what Remington thinks.
In October / November of 2002, I had a very pleasant conversation with Linda Powell, regarding the testing of a Remington 700ML muzzleloader in the video project called “21st Century Muzzleloading.” I was glad that Remington was happy to play a role, as Knight Rifles, Thompson / Center Arms, Knight Rifles, CVA-Winchester, and other companies had generously offered whatever sponsorship they could provide. The list was long, including Powerbelt Bullets, Hodgdon Powder, Millett Rings and scopes, Bushnell Performance Optics, and even companies like Brownells and Gamaliel Shooting Supply offered sponsorships.
Remington alone failed to provide the promised rifle in a timely manner, insisting on shipping to my FFL (whose ink-signed FFL copy was mailed to Remington no less than THREE times). Both frustrating and disappointing, I expected more professionalism from Remington than “the rest.” I received the least. Finally, with several months passing by and most of the live shooting completed, I e-mailed both Linda Powell and Teressa Carter asking them to please disregard the request, as time was growing too short. Only the Remington was not discussed on the first tape, a pity.
The response was good; the decision was made to do a second tape. This time, in addition to the above participants, Savage Arms, Traditions, Austin & Halleck, and White Rifles supplied test rifles—with all the previous companies supplying their latest models. Nikon, Leica, Winchester-Olin, Zeiss, Precision Rifle, Midway-Battenfield, Birchwood-Casey, Talley, Sightron, XS, Sights, etc., happily became involved, along with Hodgdon, Bushnell, Brownells, etc., etc, as before.
Yet again the test rifle request was made to Remington, a company I have long supported with my personal purchasing dollars. One of the several previously mailed FFL’s had mysteriously (finally) shown up, and I was told “no problem.” Other brands rifles quickly appeared, some new 2003 models flown to me as soon as they cleared customs. Again, a couple of months went by- no Remington. An e-mail to Teressa Carter inquiring as to the status was answered by “my gun was not yet approved.” I was flabbergasted, as this muzzleloader was approved by Linda Powell back in November, 2002.
Finally, a rifle arrived at my FFL months after promised. The bolt falls right out, or locks into place when the bolt stop screw is stiffly cranked down. The instruction manual calls out 120 grains FFg MAX in red letters, yet this gun has been marketed for some time as a “Magnum Gun.” I have repeatedly asked for clarification—none has been forthcoming. The barrel is stamped “REFER TO OWNER’s MANUAL. The erratic trigger break was from 6-7 lbs., the heaviest of some 15 test guns here.
Remington Arms was advised of the above. The answer was the trigger pull weight was “possible,” they no longer have a vent hole in the weather shroud, but have not updated the owner’s manual. No explanation for the bolt problems, and the gun was called “dangerous,” insulting my muzzleloading experience. This isn’t my first rodeo. Remington scolded me for asking about the weather shroud with 209 primers supplied by Remington; being told it “In fact, just the opposite, we warn users against using the weather shroud for repeat shooting. It is for one shot situations in inclement conditions.” To be fair to Remington, this is partially true. It is recommended for hunting as opposed to target shooting, however, as the detailed vent-hole description and weather shroud installation instructions are just plain WRONG, it is hard for the consumer to give credibility to a currently supplied manual for eight year old or so model containing such grievous errors. Currently, the Remington website states “NOTE: The Model 700 ML Weather Shroud Is Not Intended For Use With 209 Primers.” This tidbit of information has not yet filtered to their manual, nor (apparently) was Remington tech support aware of it. I was promised clarification—none has been forthcoming as of this writing.
A photocopied addendum would seem a reasonable expectation, for dummies like me who actually read owner’s manuals. The entire situation is a bit frustrating, as rings, bases, custom PowerRods, slings, scopes, and other accessories have already been procured for this test rifle— yet, no concern has been expressed by Remington for the time and expense involved. Nor was a replacement rifle or a repair offered in a timely manner, a legitimate concern to any consumer should muzzleloading season be at hand.
Shortly after the above conversation, I received an unsolicited phone call from Laura Watson at Remington, who seemed genuinely concerned and offered to help. Laura is at extension 8789. I expressed my concern that the recently arrived 700MLS was wanted back very quickly by Teressa Carter, and that I was not looking to cause problems. Laura felt a replacement bolt and screw would likely fix the bolt issues. Laura promised she would get involved with all parties, NOT to worry, and she would get back to me either late that day (a Friday) or the following Monday at the latest. No return call or e-mail has ever been made.
Concerned, I tried Laura the following week several times. The recording indicated that the department was “closed for training” temporarily. Finally, the following week, I was able to leave a voice mail inquiring as to the status of her efforts, leaving my name and number: information Remington already had, of course.
Late on 6/5/2003, I received a phone call from an obviously irritated Teressa Carter, who rudely informed me that Laura Watson had “NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING.” I note that Teressa, in all this time, had no interest in addressing previous shroud questions, loading concerns, bolt problems, etc.
Dear Remington—your internal squabbling and politics have nothing to do with me. If Remington personnel do NOT communicate with their co-workers in the very same office, that is solely a Remington issue.
To put me in a position of having one Remington employee tell me to ignore the words and promises of another Remington employee is patently unfair. With every other of the several specifically named rifle companies involved in this video project, there have been NO problems whatsoever. Solely Remington. This is sad commentary for a company I have supported for so many years. To say I am disillusioned and disappointed with the string of broken promises made by Remington Arms through-out this ordeal is an understatement.
Teressa demanded that the 700MLS be shipped back TODAY, oblivious to the private range time, equipment and shooting team assembled for this coming Saturday. I said I would do so, and have done so, UPS 1Z 4XX 596 90 4016 0479. In so doing, I have shipped something within a few hours that Remington has displayed the repeated inability to do in several months.
If anyone went through my exact little Remington saga, wouldn’t they be a bit frustrated? WOULD YOU?
The entirety of the above text was sent to Teressa Carter, Linda Powell, Eddie Stevenson, and the President of Remington. Teressa replied with a terse e-mail saying only, “Have a nice day.”
On July 21st, I spoke with another pleasant individual from Remington, Meredith Nunnery. Meredith assured me that a call tag would be mailed out to me in a day or so. I’m still waiting.
Today, August 14, 2003, yet another invoice arrived from Remington for this defective, miserable little muzzleloader, for well over $300 for this non-firing plastic gem. Remington knows full well that I would not want this amazing concoction of hollow-stocked bolt-flying ineptitude for free, much less for over $300. Apparently, despite all the previous correspondence and multiple broken promises by the green-monster that is Remington Arms, this information had yet to make it to yet another innocent Remington employee, this time Ms. Jean G. Powell. The sad saga continues.
I really pity any consumer who is forced to deal with this company that has displayed a level of ineptitude I have never, ever experienced before in the firearms industry.
August 22, 2003: Since the start of the saga, loyal Remington employee Laura Watson became "in a motherly way," and has since given birth to brandy new baby girl. Mother and daughter are both doing vibrantly well, so congratulations to Laura and her family.
Pleasant Remington employee Meredith Nunnery has since offered a few more pleasant phone calls, and a pick-up tag was finally issued by Remington, Tracking # 1Z 4XX 596 90 4041 3017.
Yet another (also pleasant- but not quite as pleasant as Meredith) Remington person from accounts receivables called. Though pleasant, she needed the tracking number. As the Tracking # / pick up Tag was sent here directly by Remington, I wondered (aloud) why Remington would call to ask me what they had at last sent to me? Another minor mystery. A good thing that Remington DID send a tag, as the last 700 ML was sent to Madison, NC. This one went to Ilion, NY. I asked why a different location this time, and was told "that's just the way it works, sometimes."
As the sun sets on the small Hamlet of Plainfield, Illinois, I can finally rest easy knowing the Remington Saga has drawn to a merciful close. Remington did e-mail, saying "SOME SERIOUS ACTION IS BEING TAKEN ON YOUR BEHALF, TO ENSURE NO ONE SUFFERS THROUGH ALL OF THIS AGAIN. I PROMISE YOU THAT THESE ISSUES ARE NOT TYPICAL OF REMINGTON."
Naturally, I asked what serious action specifically was taken? It seems that there is no serious answer to that, either. If there were, I would mention it here.
I still do not know what the correct maximum allowable loads are in a Remington 700ML, how they "REALLY" want you to use the weather shroud without a hole that sears your face with carefully directed flaming sands of Pyrodex and primer gas. It seems I am not worthy of such powerful knowledge. Remington is aware of this thread, they have read it, and could certainly post here if they had something to add.
I'm just quite satisfied that there is no Remington 700 taking up space here any longer. Sometimes, you just never fully appreciate how much you enjoy not having something until it is gone. I very much enjoy not having a Remington 700ML.
I have learned also that Meredith Nunnery of Remington is a very, very pleasant person. I'm spectacularly happy with that, if with nothing else.
So, Meredith, thank you for navigating the perilous waters of RACI, INC. (who actually ARE you guys, anyway?), and also for being so distinctly pleasantly pleasant.
I did receive a plastic sticker with the late Dale Earnhardt on it. I'm not sure where to stick it? The sticker, depicting Mr. Earnhardt, mention's that Dale's choice was "Remington Fishing."
It is quite good for the memory of Mr. Earnhardt that the sticker mentions nothing of the Remington 700ML. If I were dead, I'd much rather get people hooked on Remington fishing, rather than live in eternal torment that I might be reeling people in on Remington firearms.
In the case of Remington Firearms, I feel that "catch and release" is the only responsible method for their marketing.
Special thanks to Meredith Nunnery for exceeding the sunny disposition of all other Remington employees-- combined.
As of September 2nd, there have since been pleasant phone calls from the extremely pleasant Meredith Nunnery, and the extremely pleasant Jean G. Powell, who suggested that I should “spit that nasty taste” out of my mouth, and that things almost never are handled “like this.” So, I took her lead and spit and spat, perhaps rivaling the llama in spittle prowess.
On a subsequent phone call with Meredith, after being entreated to “give Remington another try,” I asked for information on their reduced-pressure 209 .410 shotshell primers for muzzleloading use. Not expecting her to have that information, I asked if she could pass along my request to the appropriate parties. She replied in the positive, adding that I could expect an answer in a day or so. Unfortunately, no information was forthcoming. I asked via e-mail if there was any “peep” from Remington “RE: .410 209 primers?”
The pleasant Meredith, it seems, was taken to task for trying to be helpful. The reply was terse, sent on September 2:
PLEASE ADDRESS ANY FUTURE EMAILS & PHONE CALLS DIRECTLY TO “XXXXX XXXXXX.” I APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.
In stark contrast, Federal Cartridge Company answered all my questions immediately, and I received a follow-up call the next to see if they could be of even more help. Federal has a completely different, much higher level than the still sickeningly sad Remington.
Remington Arms Company is a wonderful example of a tortured enterprise, so consumed with internal political posturing, power struggles, and awkward company structure that their dazzling incompetence at handling the simplest of matters continues to amaze me. The Remington employees that have been pleasant, showed concern, and a genuine willingness to help (Laura, Meredith, Jean) apparently have not been saluted for the fine representation of Remington (RACI Holdings), but have been REPRIMANDED for it.
I bought yet another case of STS Nitro 27 12 ga. loads this week, and almost gagged while doing so. The distinction that Remington continues to forge for itself is one that this writer feels is unparalleled in today’s firearms industry.